4-time Olympian Milorad “Mike” Cavic, once the arch-rival of the world’s most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps, has been named the interim head coach at the King County Aquatic Club (KING) based in the metropolitan Seattle area.
He replaces Jay Benner, who was named the head coach at KING last year after Michael Brooks resigned the position in early 2018. Brooks left around the time that the club was sold as part of the fallout of the USA Swimming membership ban for the club’s former owner and CEO Sean Hutchison. Neither Benner nor Brooks lasted a full year in the position.
Cavic is most famous in the world of swimming as being the guy who lost to Phelps by in the 100 fly final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by a margin so narrow that even a frame-by-frame replay of the finish still left the result in doubt. A year later, a public war-of-words between Phelps and Cavic resulted in Phelps winning the 100 fly again at the World Championships, in World Record fashion, with Cavic taking silver. Cavic won the 50 fly that year.
Cavic was born and raised in California but represented Serbia (as well as Serbia & Montenegro and Yugoslavia) in international competition. In total, he won 7 European titles in the 50 and 100 meter butterfly events before retiring after the 2012 Olympic Games.
The 34-year old has been involved in his fair share of controversy as an athlete, even when not related to his rivalry with Phelps. In 2008, he won the European Championship in the 50 fly in long course, and in the process set a new European Record. On the podium to receive is medal, Cavic wore a t-shirt that read “Kosovo is Serbia” in Cyrillic: a slogan used to protest Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia a month earlier. As punishment, he was disqualified from the remainder of his individual events at the meet by LEN, and the Serbian swimming federation was fined $10,800.
As a coach, Cavic joined the team in mid-2018 after a year spent as an assistant at LSU. He was originally hired to “lead/coordinate the Novice through Developmental 2 groups,” including creating a developmental pathway for the club. He also assisted Benner with the senior/national group.
We have reached out to both KING and Cavic for comment, but as of posting have not heard a response.
KING’s men’s team finished 11th and their women’s team finished 14th at last weekend’s Washington Open. In 2018, the men’s team won the meet and the women’s team placed 2nd.